Iraq and Afghanistan loom largest among the fiascos undertaken in the name of a "war on terror," Martin Fletcher writes in the Times of London, but there has been a third front in that offensive: Somalia. After 15 years of anarchy, the US helped destroy the country's first ever stable government, paving the way for "virulently anti-Western jihadists" who are now taking over. Fletcher calls it the "forgotten debacle" that has provided al-Qaeda with a new base.
Somalia knew peace briefly in 2006 under the so-called Islamic Courts movement, an imperfect but stable coalition. While the EU favored engagement, the US decided they were a new Taliban—and bankrolled the Ethiopian invasion that imposed a reviled government of former warlords. Now Somalia is controlled by the Shabab, a radical, woman-hating insurgency movement that openly praises al-Qaeda: "hardly a resounding triumph for the War on Terror."